Malaga Old Town: 10+ Tips For Best Things to Do from a Local

Are you adding Malaga to your travel wishlist? I couldn’t agree more! 

Malaga is one of the most popular destinations on Costa del Sol in Southern Spain, and the biggest travel hub for Southern Spain explorations.

Whether you’re staying in Malaga for your trip, or coming to the city for a day trip, there are so many exciting tips you can discover and explore. To get the most out of your trip, in this article I will cover some of the most popular things to do in old town Malaga.

The best thing about the old town is that it’s pretty compact, so you can easily explore on foot, without the need for taxis or car rental. Just by walking around, there are so many pretty places to discover, so you won’t run out of ideas on what to do.

A word of warning though – in the summer months, the old town gets pretty crowded with hundreds of tourists descending on the city from bus trips and also the cruise ships that dock in the marina, so don’t be surprised if you see huge crowds of tourists heading to one of the main attractions. Keep this in mind when you plan your visit, especially in the summer, and try to see the main attractions first thing in the morning when it’s still relatively peaceful.

I’ve lived near Malaga for over 3 years now, and have seen almost everything that the old town Malaga has to offer. In this list post, I will share some highlights, along with some personal favorites, to give you a good mix of things to do and see. Let’s dive in!

Malaga old town
Pretty streets of Malaga old town

Where is Malaga Old Town

The first thing you need to know is where Malaga is in its old town!

Malaga old town is the historical center of the city, spreading around the Cathedral as one of its main landmarks, stretching all the way to Castillo Gibralfaro on one side, and the river Guadalmedina on the other side. 

If you’re coming to the city by train, you can get off at Malaga Centro station and walk to the old town in just 10 minutes.

10+ Best Things to do in Malaga Old Town

Malaga old town is a small place, but offers a range of different experiences that will cater to any taste.

Below is a selection of the highlights along with a few hidden gems thrown in between.

1. Stroll the Narrow Streets of Malaga Old Town

The easiest and often the best way to enjoy the old town is to stroll down the narrow streets and enjoy the local architecture and views.

If you can, head to the old town before the world wakes up shortly after sunrise, to have the streets only to yourself, in the beautiful morning light.

Grab a traditional Spanish breakfast, or opt for the sweet alternative of churros and hot chocolate, and watch the city wake up.

2. Enjoy a Drink at Plaza del Obispo

Plaza del Obispo is one of my favorite squares in the city, it’s directly opposite the cathedral, offering some of the best views.

On the plaza you will also find the episcopal palace and a small fountain.

A word of warning, this place attracts a lot of beggars and street sellers, so if you sit down for a drink in the restaurants, prepare to be harassed by strangers.

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Fountain at Plaza del Obispo

3. Visit Malaga Cathedral

No visit to Malaga is complete without seeing its famous cathedral. This stunning Renaissance building from 1528 was built on the site of a former mosque, and to date is missing one of its towers, earning it the name La Manquita, which means one armed woman.

If you’re planning a visit to the Cathedral, check the schedule on their website in advance, so you can get tickets to the tower (they are limited) and also check the timing for the tour of the Cathedral rooftops which is well worth a visit.

READ MORE: Full Tour of Malaga Cathedral – Photo Report from my visit

4. Stroll Through Plaza de la Constitution

The central square of the old town is Constitution square with a marble fountain Genoa in the middle, and the square leads directly to one of the most famous streets in the city – Calle de Larios (see below).

Plaza de la Constitution is an important place for the city as it’s the location of most of the festivities and festivals held in Malaga. Around the square, you will find some of the most spectacular buildings in the old town.

5. Shopping at Calle Marques de Larios

Continuing from Plaza de la Constitution down the road towards the coastline, you will find a wide road that’s filled with shops on each side. Calle Marques de Larios is the main shopping street in Malaga, and known to be one of the most expensive places in Spain to own a property.

The street is especially famous for its beautiful extravagant display of Christmas lights that line the whole streets and are celebrated each year at the end of November with a spectacular light show. 

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Calle Larios in Malaga Old Town

6. Visit the Picasso Museum

For art enthusiasts, a visit to the Picasso museum will be one of the highlights of the trip to Malaga. For the rest of us, it’s an interesting place to explore and see some more of his work, along with photos from his personal life.

If you prefer exploring more about his life rather than his art pieces, there’s more to learn in this birth house which I mentioned below.

Picasso museum is very popular and oftentimes there are long queues to get into the museum, so get your tickets in advance if you can, especially if you’re travelling in the main summer season.

READ MORE: Pablo Picasso Museum in Malaga – my original blog post from the museum

7. Visit The Alcazaba

The Alcazaba is another one of the highlights of the old town in Malaga.

This old fortress dates back to the 11th century and was built under the Muslim rule of Al Andalus. If you’ve visited the Alhambra before, you will notice some similarities in the architectural features displayed at the main palatial section of the fortress.

Malaga’s Alcazaba is one of the best-preserved fortresses in Spain, and one of the most visited monuments in Malaga. 

READ MORE: The Alcazaba of Malaga – take a virtual tour in this blog post

Alcazaba in Malaga
The Alcazaba of Malaga

8. Check Out The Roman Theater 

Right under the Alcazaba you will find an old Roman Theater, dating back to the 1st century BC. It’s one of the most preserved examples I’ve seen, with a clearly defined stage and seats for seating.

You can enjoy views of it from the walkway that goes alongside the Alcazaba, and get an aerial view of it once you enter Alcazaba fortress.

9. Plaza de la Merced and Picasso’s Birth House

Another big square in Malaga lined with trees and beautiful historic buildings is the Plaza de la Merced, known mostly for the location of the birth home of Pablo Picasso.

His original home has been converted to a museum which displays some artefacts from his life and allows you to learn more about him as an artist. 

10. Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús

This gothic church from 1920 is also located in the old town, and if you can’t make it to Malaga Cathedral, seeing this church will certainly make up for it. 

11. Visit the Atarazanas Food Market

If you love good food and an authentic atmosphere, then a visit to the local food market is a must. The Atarazanas food market is located in a beautiful historic building, with lots of stalls selling fresh fruits and vegetables, meat and a few tapas bars where you can get a quick snack with a drink.

12. Arab Baths Hamman Al Andalus

After a long day of exploring, why not indulge yourself in the experience of traditional hammam baths/ The Hammam Al Andalus is conveniently located in Malaga old town, with lots of exciting rituals and massage options available, or you can just enjoy access to their plunge pull and get a break from the buzz of the city.

So there you have it, over 10 cool things to do in Malaga’s old town, whether you like museums or culinary experiences.

If you want to explore everything else Malaga has to offer, check out my article recommendations at the bottom of the post!

Malaga Recommended Tours & Experiences

  • Alcazaba and Roman Theatre Guided Tour With Entry – enjoy a guided visit to Malaga’s most important monuments – skip the line tickets with a tour guide in English.
  • 3-Hour Complete Walking Tour of Malaga with Tickets – see everything the city has to offer in this guided walking tour covering the highlights of Malaga city, with entrance tickets included and a guide in English. Skip the line tickets included: Malaga cathedral, Alcazaba and Roman Theater.
  • Entrance to Picasso Museum with Audio Guide – you can’t leave Malaga without visiting a museum dedicated to its most famous artist! The museum hosts around 200 works of Picasso, along with additional temporary exhibitions.
  • Flamenco Show at Tablao Alegría – enjoy an authentic Flamenco performance in one of the local restaurants in Malaga. Entry ticket included in price, no food or drinks.
  • Caminito del Rey Guided Tour with Malaga pick up – enjoy a guided walk on the most spectacular natural sight in Malaga, the ‘King’s Pathway’ offering breathtaking views of the El Chorro gorge. Includes pick up from Malaga, expert guide, safety helmets and entrance to Caminito del Rey. An unforgettable experience!
  • Sunset Catamaran Trip with a Glass of Cava Included – enjoy beautiful views of the Malaga coastline on board of a luxury catamaran, and watch the sunset while sipping on the complimentary glass of cava. Departures from Malaga port.
  • Private Full-Day Bus Trip to Ronda and Setenil with Malaga pick up – marvel at the beauty of Ronda, an ancient city with one of the oldest bullrings in the country, loved by writers like Hemingway. Enjoy the views from the famous Puente Nuevo bridge and take a stroll around the city. Visit the famous village carved into rocks at Setenil, and enjoy a drink under the rocks hanging over the streets.
  • Granada Full-Day Trip with Alhambra – it would be a shame to leave Andalusia without seeing the most important sight of all – the ancient palace complex of Alhambra. With this tour, you will get a pick-up from Malaga, full-day tour of Granada with tickets to Alhambra included.

Frequent Questions about Malaga Old Town

How far is Malaga old town from Malaga bus station?

It depends on where in the old town you need to get to, but it’s certainly not within walking distance. If you take a taxi, it will be roughly 10 minute’s drive depending on the traffic in the city.

What is Malaga old town called?

Officially it is known as Malaga historic center, but in Spanish, you will also see it under Casco Antiguo.

What is Malaga old town like?

The old town is a maze of narrow cobbled streets with small squares where they meet, lined with cute cafes, restaurants and pubs. During the day it’s busy with tourists hunting local souvenirs, and in the evening nightlife starts to move to the old town and it’s a great place to hang out with friends.

Explore More in Malaga

How to Spend One Day in Malaga: the Highlights Tour

Car Museum in Malaga: Fashion & Vintage Cars Under One Roof

Best Day Trips from Malaga by Bus: Travel Tips from a Local Expat

13+ Brilliant Things to do in Malaga, Spain (Tips from a Local Expat)

Best Day Trips from Malaga by Train

13+ Stunning Photography Locations in Malaga, Spain

The Hidden Gem of Malaga: La Conception Botanical Gardens

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